PARIS.- Gagosian Gallery
Paris presents Rodin Sugimoto, an exhibition of sculpture and photography, on view from February 11 through March 25, 2011. Auguste Rodin brought monumental public sculpture forward into the modern era. Although educated in the academic traditions and idealized subjects of classical and Renaissance sculpture, he embraced truth to nature as his artistic credo. His uncanny ability to imbue inert substances with movement and feeling reveals the idiosyncrasies and psychological depths of the human subjects that he portrayed. His agile use of form and the bravura of his modeling in pursuit of turbulent, light-catching surfaces have established him as one of the progenitors of modern sculpture.
Three monumental sculptures spanning the last thirty years of Rodins career represent the force and vigor of his approach, which emphasized the quality of flesh while suggesting emotion through detailed, textured surfaces and the interplay of light and shadow upon them. The Three Shades (c. 1880), from the private collection of Iris Cantor, is an introspective group study in which the standing figure of Adam from The Gates of Hell is repeated in shifting perspective; Monument to Victor Hugo (1897), on loan from the renowned Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, is a stirring meditation on artist and muse, a roiling figure composition that depicts the great artist deep in thought; The Whistler Muse (1908), on loan from the Musée Rodin, was intended to honour a commission in tribute to the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler who had requested not to be physically represented - in response Rodin chose the image of the muse. Rendered like a classical fragment, the armless female figure attempts to climb a mountain in an allegory of the challenge of artistic creation.
Rodins sculptures are shown here in unexpected and unprecedented combination with a series of photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto, one of the worlds most admired living photographers. Sugimoto works with time as his clay, exploring the relation of images sculpted in light and shade to the evolution of history. For the series Stylized Sculpture (2007), he selected distinctive garments by celebrated couturiers from the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute -- from Vionnets precociously modern T-dress and Balenciagas wasp-waisted billowing ensemble to Yves St Laurents strict geometric Mondrian shift and Issey Miyakes sail-like slip. Each in its own way represents a pivotal moment in twentieth century fashion history, its corporeal dynamics crystallized by the steady gaze of the camera lens.
Shot in chiaroscuro on headless mannequins, and thus removed from the context of the human body and its emotive associations and specificities, the garments reveal their pure formal qualities in terms of dramatic contrasts in form, volume, and surface. Sugimoto captures the abstract, sculptural nature intrinsic to the history of clothing a history as ancient as humanity itself and in so doing, depicts the eternity beyond the